The impact of stressful work situations is largely governed by how we react. The exact same scenario, for example, could have a vastly different outcome based on how workers deal with incoming stress, and whether precautionary strategies are already in place.
Most of us are familiar with the notion of keeping calm under pressure and resisting the urge to panic. However, stress can take varied forms from instant and alarming to slow burning and long term. As such, there are different ways to best manage job stress depending on the type, the source and the setting.
When stress in the workplace is sudden and abrupt, such as an unexpected conflict, accusation or legal issue, the temptation to panic and be alarmist or dramatic must always be avoided. One of the most valuable qualities an employee can possess is the ability to maintain grace under pressure so as to not elevate stress levels or cause additional damage.
Ideally, your workplace should have specific contingency plans in place in the event of these various emergencies. Rather than being caught off guard, employees know the protocol in advance and have had in-depth discussions and planning so they are ready to take action at any moment.
If your workplace has not implemented such strategies for sudden stressful events, it is highly advisable to develop concrete plans as a team, and designate staff members to particular responsibilities.
The ability to forecast potential stresses in relation to your organisation is key to being prepared and being able to respond quickly and confidently.
However, other versions of stress, such as a bullying boss or unmanageable workload, require different approaches.
Such examples tend to happen gradually over the course of time so it is a good idea to keep a record of each incident or details of the excessive work, highlighting the date, time and particulars.
When the time feels right, you can share your records with the most appropriate senior manager and calmly discuss how the situation has been making you feel and what can potentially be done about it. The key is to recall the details, and deal with them officially and equally at a later date, when resilience and steady thinking are stronger.
Throughout the process, however, you should never rise to the stress bait. Keep your emotions in check and stay calm and level headed, remembering to step away where necessary, even momentarily, in order to combat further stress.
When you keep in mind that you are making a record of current issues to be dealt with in due time, it can make it easier for you to deal with each stress as it happens, adding a certain security or feeling of future resolve, easing from the pressure of having upfront solutions, while emotions are heightened.
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